British Marque

 

It sure has been a very hot summer! Here in the South, we’re all looking forward to cooler weather, fall drives and car shows.
Our August lunch was at the Flight Deck restaurant in Lexington, SC. 48 members met for lunch and we welcomed new members Dennis & Debbie Dabney, Richard Jackson, George Freeman, and Mark & Andrea Closson. On September 10, we’ll be meeting at Joe Anderson’s for a picnic lunch, October 1st, will be a Lizard’s Thicket, November will be the annual meeting and elections at DiPrato’s and the holiday party will be at the old Mill in Lexington, SC. Check out the website BCCMC.com for details.
Some of the car upcoming car shows were mentioned, with some members interested in attending a few of them. There usually is a planned drive to through the scenic roadways to the events. Look for BCCMC Brits at Autumn in the Mountains, Ashville NC, Rock around the Clock, Winnsboro SC, Myrtle Beach SC and Charleston, SC. Surely will be busy September and October for fun times and great rides.

Following, is Part 1 of David & Patricia Reilly’s adventures with their British automobiles. They have written a short story detailing their experiences over the decades. … enjoy!

Patricia grew up in England, riding on the back of friend’s Douglas and Vincent motorbikes before immigrating to the USA in 1960. There she worked in a Hollywood advertising agency, driving an Austin Healey Sprite and was part of the sports car racing crowd. David was born in Washington state and raced an MG-TC, Porsche 1500 coupe and Alfa Romeo Veloce Spyder through high school and college. After college, David worked on the Apollo man-to-the-moon project in California and raced a Lotus Eleven series 2 and then a Lotus 23B.

Both being sports car and racing fans, we got together and were married in Las Vegas in 1964. Our honeymoon was opening presents while towing the Lotus, with our old Ford station wagon, to Georgia, where David had a new job.

In 1966, we were living in Connecticut and we decided to buy our first new car. Of course, it would be a Jaguar! We ordered a new 3.8-litre ’S’-type, at Jaguar of New York, for delivery at the Jaguar factory in Browns Lane, Coventry, England on September 1, 1966 (The earliest date USA law allowed a car to be registered in the new model year).

We chose Carmen Red exterior with a Black leather interior and four speed (synchromesh on 1st gear), transmission with overdrive. It was to be fitted with all available USA factory-installed options:
o Chrome wire wheels
o Heated rear window
o 3-point seat belts (front)
o Tinted glass
o Power steering
Total price $5,024.00.
A set of custom-made black cowhide luggage was ordered from S. Reid of London to be delivered to Browns Lane for installation in the car upon delivery.
We flew to London and arrived at Browns Lane, Coventry on Thursday, September 1st, 1966. We were welcomed into the offices to complete paperwork while the car was brought round. The car had been completed (built) June 21, 1966 and registered on August 31, 1966 to Jaguar Export Sales so that British registration plates would be on the car (HRW 667D) for our use in England.
When we finished the particulars, and a short tour of the Jaguar cars on display in the lobby (an SS1, XKSS and a D-type), we were escorted out front. There sat our beautiful red ‘S’- along with about a dozen people from the offices and works standing around it. They had all heard of the custom luggage and wanted to see it installed! After suitable pleasantries we all were on our way!

A Resurrection, Restoration, or Simply a Miracle?

We found our 1951 MG TD entombed in a small backyard garden shed in Trenton, NJ. Her dignity intact, she sat upon jack stands, waiting to be released from her captivity. The TD was fully clothed with top and side curtains in place and even had a matching spare tire cover. The old girl appeared to retain all of her original pieces and was additionally adorned with a 1975 New Jersey Bi-Centennial license plate, which is believed to be the last time that she was ambulatory. There was a hang tag tied to the ignition key that stated: “needs all fluids before starting.” If only it was to be that easy.

Our family was in the process of moving from a six year adventure in the beautiful Garden State and I literally purchased the TD from a friend one week before our departure south. Once liberated from her garden tomb the TD was transported (along with a ‘79 Fiat Spyder that I had purchased after liberation from college) via commercial car carrier to my parents home in Camden, SC. A call soon came from my father, aka Grandad, inquiring as to what this funny little car was doing sitting in his yard beside my old Fiat.

Dad, who was a master machinist in his early days, had sent his two boys to college so that they wouldn’t have to work on cars or otherwise “work with their hands” as he would say. As a consequence I possessed none of the knowledge, ability, facility, or tools necessary to undertake the restoration of a pair of old sneakers let alone an old car that hadn’t run in a quarter century. At first, Dad sternly made a point of the amount of work and expense such an undertaking would require; until he learned that it was not MY car, but that of my wife Robin, whereupon he enthusiastically declared that he would restore the TD for her. Dad adored my Robin who, in his eyes, was incapable of doing any wrong, and took every opportunity through the years to remind me of that indisputable fact! So began the “family project” which suddenly occupied the free time of me, Robin, and our ten and twelve year old children, all under the watchful direction and guiding hand of “Grandad”. Little did we realize what the next 15 years would hold for us and the MG.

As is customary, the entire car was stripped down to bare chassis, with the parts and pieces cataloged into zip lock bags; an insightful procedure initiated by my wife and fully endorsed by Grandad. What needed to be scrapped, sanded or in other ways renewed with elbow grease, was. What became necessary to replace was assiduously ordered. It was mostly a fun, learning experience for everyone and Grandad reveled in having his grandchildren close to him. Grandad taught us all how to flare and bend new brake lines, hone wheel cylinders, and in general explained all things mechanical, which were so wanting in our repertoire. Then Grandad unexpectedly passed away. The family project was more or less abandoned for several years.

Finally the time came to decide the fate of the neglected TD, still languishing in Dad’s garage.

The kids were in high school with other interests, Robin was busy teaching, and I had taken a new job. So, what to do? Sell the completely disassembled parts, have it professionally restored, or soldier on without our sage and mentor? Ultimately it was decided that Grandad would want us to continue what we had started, to the best of our abilities; damn the results! After all, the project really became an exercise in not only working together as a family, but in learning and applying that new knowledge toward a given end.

So a garage full of parts and pieces slowly came together. After seemingly endless hours of internet inquiry, busted knuckles and band aids, invaluable tutelage from the BCCMC “Brain Trust”, and unselfish contribution of parts, the roadworthy TD was finally christened; Victoria. As demanding as any historic monarch, Victoria continues to confound, confuse, and delight after conveying us over 10,000 miles of beautiful backroads!


H.Vance Young, Jr., Ph.D.

Carolina Classic XIV 2022

BCCMC British Marque Article

Every month, we try to include the “story” behind our member’s cars. This month, Mike and Susan Eckhart are sharing the restoration of their ’64 Morris Traveller:
We acquired our 1964 Morris Minor Traveller in May of 2008. Several years earlier we had spotted it sitting between the two brick buildings of the old antique shop at the corner of Huger & Blossom Streets in downtown Columbia. The asking price at the time was a little too rich for my blood so we allowed it to age in place for a while. Unfortunately, during that time the car also degraded a fair amount. When we heard later that the business may be closing Susan suggested that we see if it was still there. It was! (and at a much more reasonable price)
After the shop owner’s helper coaxed the transplanted Nissan engine to life I did a little test drive around the parking lot and a back alley. We became the proud owners of a slightly pink (oxidized maroon) LBC.
There were barely any brakes during the test drive – zero pedal pressure and not much parking brake action either. So, the first order of business was brake work to make the car drivable. A few other minor mechanical issues were addressed and some patching-together of the wood (including a complete replacement left rear pillar constructed of 2x4s) and I was on the road!!
After several years of driving the car quite frequently; errands, work commutes, Myrtle Beach, Charlotte, Road Atlanta, etc, etc – it was time to give it some well-deserved TLC. So not too long before I retired, I pretty much disassembled the car from the B-pillar back and took it, along with the rear body panels and roof to AJ’s ArtWorks in West Columbia for painting. During that time I stained and finished the new ash wood kit from England. Painting complete, assembly is the reverse of disassembly (with a few minor issues/complications). Next was a complete interior re-do by Paul Aragon and the Wicked Stitches crew.
Since completion we’ve taken it on several BCCMC club drives and to some shows including Asheville NC, Dobson NC, Dillard GA, Mills River NC and more. Speaking of car shows, our very first award was the Ugly Duck Award at the 2010 Pine Island show.
Keep driving and keep having fun!! By Mike & Susan Eckhart
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We are all gearing up for some awesome spring weather and amazing drives. February 12th found our group taking a Polar Bear Run, the destination from the State Farmer’s Market to Do Little Field in St. Mathews, SC. The trip was about 100 miles round trip, and being in the south the weather was a balmy 70 degrees, it was a great day for a ride. Nineteen (19) vehicles joined in the ride, of which 16 were little British Cars.
The rally, planned and hosted by Kimberly & Randy Yaussy, took us down Hwy 176, past “the William Baker House, circa 1830 which sits along the Congaree River with a great views of Columbia”. General Sherman’s army had taken over the house for an evening of rest, after which he ordered some of the troops to stay behind and burn the house. One of the Baker daughters played “Dixie” on the piano for the troops, and they spared the home. (info provided by the Yaussy’s) From there, we traveled down Hwy 21 to 172, and Do Little Field. Donna Stanfield was the lucky winner of the $25 gift certificate for answering the most questions from the rally route. Once we arrived, we were treated to a few spectacular “fly overs” by the Do Little residents. We enjoyed a delicious lunch of chili and hot dogs with all the fixings. Numerous desserts and s’mores by the fire pit all made for a great day.
Upcoming :
Saturday April 2, the Carolina British Classic XIV Car Show at Historic Columbia Speedway, 2001 Charleston Hwy, Cayce SC. Registration is still open and additional information is available on our website: BCCMC.com
Saturday May 14 monthly meeting at Lizard’s Thicket 10170 Two Notch Rd Columbia, SC. 9 am.
Wednesday, May 25 drive to Darla Moore Botanical Gardens 100 New Zion Rd, Lake City SC check website for details

Submitted by Kathy Fuente